Open main menu

Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/84

This page has been validated.
60
SAWDUST AND SPANGLES

Therefore, the route of the big show is completed on paper not later than the first of February, and the first agent, usually the railroad contractor, begins his duties. Such a show as I am describing is perfectly safe in laying out its route thus early and advertising its days and dates for months in advance. And, having done this, woe betide any smaller concern which elects to show in the same neighborhood, for the larger show will immediately send an advance brigade and literally flood the country with their bills. Brigades of this kind are called "skirmishers," and are kept in readiness to jump to any point where their services are needed to fight any kind of opposition. They thus uphold a sort of monarchical right in the territory and prevent, if possible, the success of the lesser attraction. This makes it really far more difficult to manage a small show than a large one, as the latter has "the right of might," while the lesser shows are continually forced in each other's way, to their own detriment and often to their complete financial disaster. A large concern in a prosperous season clears an immense amount of money, but, on the other hand, a disastrous season is bound to result in an enormous loss.